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Old 02-03-2015, 06:00 PM
 
468 posts, read 460,490 times
Reputation: 1117

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Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
Is that a problem for you? It is a consuming job with a fair amount of risk, at odd hours, maybe ten times a season, maybe five, miserable working conditions, and there is money invested. I also think that you may be underestimating the time involved.
I am not interested in anyone's misery. The guy has a customer and that means a job and a paycheck.

Don't like the job conditions? Do something else. My yard takes five minutes with a plow. No hurdles, just swing in and push the snow one way(50yds) and push the snow in the other way (50 yds). Done.( I pay $35. This week, week before/last week, I am down $95. Last year I paid nothing. I call as needed.

I had my guy for five years, he started at $30. He never asked for more but after five years I thought he needed a little Cost of Living adjustment so I put it to $35. Realistically I think price should depend upon how much time it takes for him to clean the place so you can navigate out of your yard. Everything else is cost of doing business. No I am not paying your gas to get you to my place. I don't recall my job paying my gas or train ticket. I don't remember my job paying my car insurance because I was on swing shift and the train time was not in sync, and had to use my car.
This is why Hispanics are beating out Anglos when it comes to small businesses. Anglos want you to pay for their whole business expense plus give them a paid-job. How you pay your car insurance gas, is your business not mine. If you don't have those you cannot get to me and have the job. I am paying for my driveway being cleaned of snow and no more.
My guys plow was down. I called one guy he came out looked around. He threw out $250!!!! citing he has to drive from XXX(20 minutes down a major highway, what all his job is right next door to him?? get real)
gas, time, insurance, blah, blah..........want me to pay your tax burden too? The next guy $50 he just wanted me to pay gas. "So if you have no gas you can't get to jobs right?" Then hey, you don't have a job. I am paying for my driveway and that is it. So the next guy happened to be small business of Hispanic guys. This guy rolled up with his truck and a blower , he knocked it out in 15 minutes for $25 tax free. I am keeping my guy because he is steady. Not a fly by night. But you bet I got the Hispanics guys number for a backup. In fact he is doing my yard wall edging next spring.
Moral of the story: YOU GOUGE YOU LOSE. Learn what cost of doing business is.
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Old 02-04-2015, 08:22 AM
 
5,910 posts, read 6,711,111 times
Reputation: 15252
$35 sounds about fair to me.....but I don't know the details other than what you have stated.

I would pretty much wager that if the plow guy truly costed out what it costs him to do your driveway.....time, fuel, maintenance, equipment, insurance, down time (how do you figure what it costs to be sitting for three weeks waiting for it to snow, but be ready to jump out the door at 2 a.m. to get driveways cleared so people can get to work?), liability insurance, and taxes....just to mention a few, that his P&L would be significantly red.

In my previous life I lived in a seriously snowy part of the States. Our plow guys were in a race to the bottom in terms of pricing. Most people did their contract by the season.....if Plow Guy "A" would do it for $300, Plow Guy "B" would do it for $250...and then $230, and then finally you get some cowboy for $200. Horrible workmanship....but many people didn't care as long as the bulk of the snowfall was cleared aside.

So, part of your $35 is personal...quality of the work, timeliness, response to your needs (if you are on a "don't call me, I will call you" basis), follow up after the town plow has plowed you back in, damage to the yard/lawn etc. It all works into the equation, but I truly believe that at that price the plow guy isn't making much, if any, real profit.
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Old 02-04-2015, 08:43 AM
 
129 posts, read 189,051 times
Reputation: 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted Bear View Post
$35 sounds about fair to me.....but I don't know the details other than what you have stated.

I would pretty much wager that if the plow guy truly costed out what it costs him to do your driveway.....time, fuel, maintenance, equipment, insurance, down time (how do you figure what it costs to be sitting for three weeks waiting for it to snow, but be ready to jump out the door at 2 a.m. to get driveways cleared so people can get to work?), liability insurance, and taxes....just to mention a few, that his P&L would be significantly red.

In my previous life I lived in a seriously snowy part of the States. Our plow guys were in a race to the bottom in terms of pricing. Most people did their contract by the season.....if Plow Guy "A" would do it for $300, Plow Guy "B" would do it for $250...and then $230, and then finally you get some cowboy for $200. Horrible workmanship....but many people didn't care as long as the bulk of the snowfall was cleared aside.

So, part of your $35 is personal...quality of the work, timeliness, response to your needs (if you are on a "don't call me, I will call you" basis), follow up after the town plow has plowed you back in, damage to the yard/lawn etc. It all works into the equation, but I truly believe that at that price the plow guy isn't making much, if any, real profit.
I think you raise some good points. However, I don't think it's fair to factor in "what it costs to be sitting for three weeks waiting for it to snow". That's HIS time, that he could be spending doing something else productive that creates value. Maybe he's watching TV and having a beer instead. Either way, I don't feel like I should be subsidizing that.

I get a day off from work, and I run into my plow guy at the local store, drinking coffee and BS'ing with whoever happens to drop in. This is what he does when it's not snowing. If he's making a living wage off of plow proceeds, then I gotta say I'm pretty jealous!

Maybe it's just time for me to stop complaining and get some bids.
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Old 02-04-2015, 08:53 AM
 
Location: San Francisco, CA & Sharon, VT
168 posts, read 187,475 times
Reputation: 391
Default Relative costs, and intangible costs

Quote:
Originally Posted by joe moving View Post
Don't forget truck wear and tear, tires, fuel, and of course insurance (and damages to property you don't want to file a claim for).

It probably creates a tough situation for you to have other jobs since when it snows hard and people need you most, you could be working 12-18 hours straight, so you're either calling out sick or having a flexible job.
This, plus what Vter said about a lot of the work happening at 2 a.m. ... it's not $200/hour for 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year; it's $200/hour for very randomly and irregularly scheduled task ... most of these folks will have other jobs, so they're cutting into their free time and sleep time to get out there and plow for extra income.

Look at it this way - what is your time worth, if you had to plow / shovel / snow-blow your own driveway? If someone woke you at 4:30 a.m. and said "if you want to get to work on time, you need to get up *now* and go outside and shovel / snow-blow your driveway... *or*, you can give $35 to this guy, and you get to sleep another 90 minutes" ... well, what would you say?

If the $35 is more important to you than the 90 minutes sleep and avoiding going out in the cold, then yes, you're paying too much. If on the other hand the thought of paying $35 to get a full night's sleep (and avoid having to go out and shovel) sounds like heaven, then you're paying the right amount (or even getting a bargain).

(By the way, that last paragraph is not meant to be snarky or condescending -- it's a serious equation, and the answer will be different for different people. Some will be fine with getting up early and saving $35; others will think hiring a plow guy is a bargain at twice the price.)
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Old 02-04-2015, 10:11 AM
 
Location: Vermont
1,018 posts, read 1,419,194 times
Reputation: 1994
Everyone thinks everyone elses job is easy. Go buy a plow (5 to 7 grand) and get into business. You'll be happy to pay your $35 after one winter. Plows are expensive and hard on the truck. You have to be available at any hour so you can get all your customers done. It may not snow for a month but you can't head to FL, because it just may. You have to remember which customers want what. They crab if you come for 4" and crab if you don't for 5". Plowing gravel when the grounds not frozen? good luck not making a mess. And travel time is factored in. If you're 15 minutes out of the way, that's factored in or I'm losing money. Best deal is to get the same guy as your neighbors. It's a tough business and it looks lucrative and easy but that's way off from reality.
If you have a good plow guy who does a good job and shows up when he should, then be thankful. $35 is a fair price.
Otherwise buy a snowblower or like me, get a Kubota RTV with a plow and get out there and do it yourself. Our plow guy does our private road and charges the neighbors 20 bucks a pop since he's here already. Their driveways are like yours. A good snowblower is under a grand. The Kubota a lot more. A truck and a plow even more.
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Old 02-04-2015, 12:22 PM
 
Location: Vermont
5,439 posts, read 14,776,624 times
Reputation: 2630
I wouldn't want to be using a snowblower for a driveway in VT. too much snow to keep up with!
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Old 02-06-2015, 06:20 PM
 
5,910 posts, read 6,711,111 times
Reputation: 15252
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmILost View Post
I think you raise some good points. However, I don't think it's fair to factor in "what it costs to be sitting for three weeks waiting for it to snow". That's HIS time, that he could be spending doing something else productive that creates value. Maybe he's watching TV and having a beer instead. Either way, I don't feel like I should be subsidizing that.

I get a day off from work, and I run into my plow guy at the local store, drinking coffee and BS'ing with whoever happens to drop in. This is what he does when it's not snowing. If he's making a living wage off of plow proceeds, then I gotta say I'm pretty jealous!

Maybe it's just time for me to stop complaining and get some bids.
I understand your logic, but if he is doing something else, he can't be available for plowing, unless he is in a very lucky situation.

Maybe he is a greens keeper from May to October, in which case snow plowing "works".

But understand my logic: If I am a plow guy , waiting around for it to snow is part of the "job". It may look good, but I can't take another job and say, "I'll get to your plow job when my shift is over"; and he can't say to the foreman, "I can't work today because I have to plow".

In academic terms, it is "cost accounting", and the place where many/most small businesses fail. The plow guys who think they are picking up a few hundred in extra cash when it snows are going broke, one driveway at a time. The guys who are fully costing their product for what it really costs aren't getting any work.

Get some bids. Go with the guy with the best reputation in your area.
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Old 02-08-2015, 02:11 PM
 
Location: Inis Fada
16,833 posts, read 29,101,931 times
Reputation: 7397
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmILost View Post
Hi All,
What do you pay for plow service? My plow guy is charging $35 per plow, which just seems like a sweet gig for him. Granted, my driveway is large, maybe about 75 yards. It probably takes him about 5 minutes to get it done.

Say it takes 5 minutes to get to the next customer. That's over $200/hour. I know there are costs such as gas, vehicle maintenance, and the cost of the actual plow, but he's still gotta be coming out at around $100 an hour.
We pay $45 for a long, steep driveway using a payloader. It takes him more than 5 minutes. Guys using pick up trucks do ok the first storm or two, but one there has been some melt, they lose it on the ice and need to hire a wrecker to pull them out.

Last edited by OhBeeHave; 02-08-2015 at 02:31 PM..
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Old 02-08-2015, 02:16 PM
 
Location: Inis Fada
16,833 posts, read 29,101,931 times
Reputation: 7397
Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron1022 View Post
I am not interested in anyone's misery. The guy has a customer and that means a job and a paycheck.

Don't like the job conditions? Do something else. My yard takes five minutes with a plow. No hurdles, just swing in and push the snow one way(50yds) and push the snow in the other way (50 yds). Done.( I pay $35. This week, week before/last week, I am down $95. Last year I paid nothing. I call as needed.

I had my guy for five years, he started at $30. He never asked for more but after five years I thought he needed a little Cost of Living adjustment so I put it to $35. Realistically I think price should depend upon how much time it takes for him to clean the place so you can navigate out of your yard. Everything else is cost of doing business. No I am not paying your gas to get you to my place. I don't recall my job paying my gas or train ticket. I don't remember my job paying my car insurance because I was on swing shift and the train time was not in sync, and had to use my car.
This is why Hispanics are beating out Anglos when it comes to small businesses. Anglos want you to pay for their whole business expense plus give them a paid-job. How you pay your car insurance gas, is your business not mine. If you don't have those you cannot get to me and have the job. I am paying for my driveway being cleaned of snow and no more.
My guys plow was down. I called one guy he came out looked around. He threw out $250!!!! citing he has to drive from XXX(20 minutes down a major highway, what all his job is right next door to him?? get real)
gas, time, insurance, blah, blah..........want me to pay your tax burden too? The next guy $50 he just wanted me to pay gas. "So if you have no gas you can't get to jobs right?" Then hey, you don't have a job. I am paying for my driveway and that is it. So the next guy happened to be small business of Hispanic guys. This guy rolled up with his truck and a blower , he knocked it out in 15 minutes for $25 tax free. I am keeping my guy because he is steady. Not a fly by night. But you bet I got the Hispanics guys number for a backup. In fact he is doing my yard wall edging next spring.
Moral of the story: YOU GOUGE YOU LOSE. Learn what cost of doing business is.
Just wondering -- if you use propane, heating oil or kerosene, do you ask your supplier to deduct the cost of getting it delivered to your home off the fuel portion of their operating expenses?
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Old 02-08-2015, 02:28 PM
 
Location: Inis Fada
16,833 posts, read 29,101,931 times
Reputation: 7397
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmILost View Post
Is it a problem for me? I mean, it's not going to bankrupt me, but on the other hand it is affecting how much money I can save right now. I know I'm not underestimating the time it takes to plow my drive, but maybe other people's driveways take longer. If he's charging a flat rate per driveway, there's some subsidization going on there.

It seems like a pretty nice gig to me. I'd argue that the working conditions aren't miserable - after all, they aren't getting out of the truck much. So it's heated, and they have their radio/tunes, right? And it requires minimal training/education.
Quote:
Originally Posted by joe moving View Post
It doesn't seem like a bad gig. I like driving (locally at least) so that is why I want my own truck. If it seems easy enough maybe I'll expand to do neighbors.

Don't forget truck wear and tear, tires, fuel, and of course insurance (and damages to property you don't want to file a claim for).

It probably creates a tough situation for you to have other jobs since when it snows hard and people need you most, you could be working 12-18 hours straight, so you're either calling out sick or having a flexible job.
Quote:
Originally Posted by vter View Post
...and being out in the *very* early morning hours. My guy usually shows up around 2am!
It's a nice gig if you don't have a regular job, don't mind being out in the cold for long periods of time, can tolerate having your window open when you're trying to negotiate some of the trickier driveways, and don't mind having to sit and wait for the weather in order to work. It's a little inconvenient when you're at a social function and can't have a cocktail and enjoy yourself because the forecast is for snow later and you need to be sober. Can't forget the fact that there are people who you'll have to chase down in order to get paid.
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